Singer emphasizes that the economic cost of aggressive control measures is morally important and not simply a matter of elevating crass financial concerns above issues of life and death.

If we’re thinking of a year to 18 months [the projected amount of time required to develop and deploy a vaccine] of this kind of lockdown, then we really do need to think about the consequences other than in terms of deaths from COVID-19. I think the consequences are horrific, in terms of unemployment in particular, which has been shown to have a very serious effect on well-being, and particularly for poorer people. Are we really going to be able to continue an assistance package to all of those people for 18 months?

…”Yes, people will die if we open up, but the consequences of not opening up are so severe that maybe we’ve got to do it anyway.” If we keep it locked down, then more younger people are going to die because they’re basically not going to get enough to eat or other basics.

We need to think about this in the context of the well-being of the community as a whole….We are currently impoverishing the economy, which means we are reducing our capacity in the long term to provide exactly those things that people are talking about that we need—better health care services, better social-security arrangements to make sure that people aren’t in poverty.